Blogs > HNN > WILL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ACCEPT BIN LADEN'S OFFER OF "PEACE IN OUR TIME?"

Nov 1, 2004 6:35 pm


WILL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ACCEPT BIN LADEN'S OFFER OF "PEACE IN OUR TIME?"



Dr. Judith A. Klinghoffer is a senior research associate in the department of Political Science at Rutgers University, Camden. She is the co-author of International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights and the author of Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences. Clich here for her blog on HNN.

I may be slow, but I think I finally got it. Interestingly, Bin Laden got it first. The worst mistake one can make is underestimating opponents or enemies. When John Kerry made his now famous comment that he wanted to reduce terrorism to a nuisance, Bin Laden understood it as an offer for a much needed truce. He liked what he heard. Bill Saffire -"Osama Casts His Vote" is right on that subject. In the past, Bin Laden put aside his hopes for a great Khalifat. After all the chances of that Khalifat have been greatly reduced by the American removal of two major pieces of territory which were supposed to compose that Khalifat. Afghanistan was the remote base from which like Mao he was supposed to emerge and take the center and Iraq is the center. Some American analysts may not like looking at maps but Osama knows better. So, he offer a truce."Your security is in your own hands, and any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security." If you vote blue, I will go along with Kerry and return terrorism to a level of nuisance. In my last article "What If America Had Elected Walter Mondale in 1984?" I pointed out that a"Bush victory coming as it will in the wake of the Howard victory in Australia is bound to send a powerful message not only to the Islamists but also to our real and nominal Muslim allies that they better join the anti-Islamist fight and take the American demand for reform seriously. A Bush defeat is bound to send the opposite signal. Even if Kerry would like to prosecute the war on terror in Iraq and elsewhere, he would have to overcome the worldwide perception that the electorate has repudiated not only Bush but his forceful policy. In other words, much of the hard work and sacrifices made by the American people in the past three years would be wasted. This may not be fair, but it is nonetheless true and I suspect the American people know it."

Still, it is possible that not only Bin Laden but the American people also wish for a truce. I worry that it will be Munich all over again. It is a small wonder that Ellie Wiesel worries too.

"Wiesel recalls that after he publicly declared his support for intervention,"some people couldn't believe that I was for President Bush." But in his mind, that support was the natural continuation of a lifetime of work to advance human rights."We had to intervene in South Africa, against apartheid, and in the Soviet Union in its persecution of Jews and minorities and other dissidents.... If mass violations of human rights exist in a country, we must interfere," he says.

Wiesel believes Americans understand this. He disagrees with the view (popular among antiwar types) that the president dragged us into a war nobody wanted."I think the support was there in the beginning, and then slowly things began to happen. Suddenly there were no weapons of mass destruction, which had been an important argument in the very beginning. And then the ups and downs. Let's be honest, every day American soldiers die, and we weren't prepared for that." Plus, he says, in Iraq right now we are dealing with a vicious enemy that shows little sign of relenting."I don't like the term 'insurgents.' Those who kill are assassins, not insurgents. We are dealing with murder. That's why, I imagine, some Americans feel less enthusiastic about the war."

But even if the jitters are explainable, Wiesel doesn't think we should give in to them. The war on terrorism, he explains, is a worldwide human-rights struggle that Americans should be prepared to fight."I have been trying to alert those who read me or hear me to the threat of terrorism for years," he says."The whole world is now in danger." And America has a leadership role to play:"I believe the United States has been and must remain an example for other nations. [Promoting human rights] is about the celebration of our freedom, and our willingness to defend it."

Asked whether he thinks Americans have the staying power for a long struggle, Wiesel says,"I think the American people are idealistic. America came twice to Europe to save the continent. We had no economic or any other interest in the first World War and not even the second. America went to war against Hitler because he was evil and that was a just war. The American people have shown their willingness to accept sacrifices."

Still, he worries we'll grow listless over time. The greatest threat we face, he says, is"numbness. We become numb. That is a danger because of the numerous terrorist attacks that happen all over the world now. The danger is that so many tragedies will succeed one another we may become indifferent to them. I've been fighting indifference since I knew what indifference meant to my generation."

"I came to America from where I came from," Wiesel adds,"and therefore I am more sensitive to America's idealism than those who were born here. For them it is a granted condition to be free, for me it was not. To be free is important, but to bring freedom to those who are not free is even more important."

Wiesel's comments implicitly point to an inconsistency in the American character: We are idealistic but impatient, capable of great exertions but not always prepared to sustain them. As he suggests, we tend to see freedom as a default, and forget that it makes constant demands on us. And rarely are those demands more manifest than in times of war. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that democracies are not particularly well suited to"braving great storms" over time. The reason is that"men expose themselves to dangers and privations out of enthusiasm, but they remain exposed to them for a long time only out of reflection." People tend to"feel much more than they reason; and if the present evils are great, it is to be feared that they will forget the greater evils that perhaps await them in case of defeat."

Many have argued that, in this election, we're choosing whether to continue with the long, demanding project we started after September 11, or to try to forget what happened that day, at least until the next reminder.

Wiesel wished to stay out of electoral politics when he spoke to NRO, but he did offer this word of wisdom to American voters:"Every election is significant, but this one is more so. Because I think it could be a turning point. And therefore one should really think twice, three times, in his or her conscience about who he or she thinks is the best person to lead our nation in the coming four years."

These are valuable words for Americans to consider on Tuesday.




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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Maarja, Useful remarks as usual, and thanks for your thoughful reflections. I would like to say that I don't believe in the "Great Divide" amongst Americans, however. I think that is mainly a convenient fiction employed by a news media that is too lazy to really dig into the tail spin this country has gone into. There are some deeper emotions now than in the recent decades, and our country will have more difficulties for years to come - due to myopia today, but we are very far from 1860.

I have more Democrat than Republican friends but don't expect to lose any of either group because of this election. I don't think that many Democrats really want American troops to die overseas, whatever they might say out of frustration at a second near-miss, or that many Republicans think that it is okay to go to war against a country that did not attack us, based on deceptive claims about that country's threat to America, even though most of them voted to legitimize the government that did that.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The damage that "will take a long time to undo" was a conscious risk created when Karl Rove decided that invading Iraq would help Cheney and Bush get legitimately elected co-president, for the first time, in 2004. Rove has been proven quite correct in his assessment. The conquest of Iraq has been an obvious disaster for the people of the U.S. and the world, but the policy creating that mess was nonetheless ratified and the damage-doers given another four years, with a bigger legislative margin as a bonus. The biggest damage will come when the real wolf shows up after the boy who called "wolf" is gone. That is why we have historians; listening, recording, and, once in a blue moon, even posting on this website.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Maarja,

Your new post-election-disaster antennae for sarcastic irony may be leading you to infer it where it is not actually intended. The point I meant to make was that very few serious historians are featured in articles here, and even then more as guest polemicists rather than as sober and reflective imparters of wisdom from long-range lessons from the past. The "take-home" message of HNN -and this is probably my biggest beef with it- often seems to be that history is a gigantic evolving databank from which to launch weekly pet peeves and topical sensationalism, dressed up as historical parallels. It is basically run by media people selectively using and manipulating history and not by historians seeking to enlighten, qualify, and inspire insights.

At the same time, however, this is a creature of the internet, and the web has greatly increased the volume, transmission, and accessibility of information. Historians are sifters, and that is what my comments sometimes try to do. What, for example, might the textbook or "GalacticNet-CD-resource-nexus" for a college U.S. history in 2024 say, in its box bullet pointing the stated reasons for the Iraq invasion, its two paragraph narrative about the actual process leading up to the invasion -the "repackaging", the "product launch", the doctored "evidence", etc.-., its clickable diagram covering the role and representation of Iraq in the 2004 election campaign, and its one paragraph wrap-up conclusion about unintended long term consequences of short-term political manipulation of public opinion ?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I suppose it benefits students at Rutgers who are thereby spared her fanatical "neo-con" propagandizing, but Ms Klinghoffer's preoccupation with HNN is nonetheless largely a waste. In this case, she quotes Nobel Laureate Wiesel at great length, but, given the steady stream of obsessive bias from her, featured regularly on HNN, one can only suspect that the quotes are quite possibly highly selective, and probably ripped from a different context than that here presented.

It cannot be ruled out that Wiesel, like Nader and many elderly gents who showed great courage, vision and dignity in their youth, is losing either his marbles or his moral compass or both, but we can only properly evaluate that possibility by hearing his own unfiltered voice, unwarped by the unAmerican and ahistorical polemics of Klinghoffer.

This piece fails to meet even the abysmally low standards of HNN.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Neither are bogus boasts about "capturing 90% of Al Qaeda leaders" (we also got at least 90% of the WMD weapons in Iraq).

The main issue with respect to Islamic terrorism is the hearts and minds of one billion + Moslems worldwide. Don't take my word for it: listen to Richard Clarke (no relation to me). No matter what the outcome of tomorrow’s votes (though I am not betting that W will win his first presidential election), it will take years, if not decades, to reverse the unnecessary damage done by the unprovoked, reckless, cowardly, hypocritical, atrociously botched, deceit-laden and shamefully "launched-after-Labor Day" invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The treasonous plans for this disaster were hatched by Pearl and Wolfowitz, and masterminded by Cheney and Rumsfeld, but Bush made the final decisions, Kerry spinelessly and hypocritically voted to give him the blank check to do so, and Poodle Tony Blair endorsed it, while the bogus kneejerk anti-war movement in America -and their foreign heroes such as Schroeder and Chirac- have not yet even conceived of the need for a credible and viable alternative, let alone started marching for it.

Maybe after Bush is sent back to Texas (to await trial ?) and Republican Party begins to rescues itself from clutches of hijackers such as Klinghoffer, the world can begin to pick up the pieces left behind in the wake of the so-called "neo-cons" disaster. But, it will be a long road ahead, just to get back to where we were at the end of 2002.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I don't "hold a position", because I don't have the facts yet.

I agree with you that it was morally imperative to take decisive action against Saddam: e.g. in 1980, 1983, 1988, 1998 (when nobody did). I am not convinced that Wiesel gave a 100% green light to the reckless manner in which that moral imperative was exploited and botched at the hands of the Cheney-Bush administration in 2003. I am not yet convinced that Wiesel -whose early books I certainly respect- has become an aged dupe of the chickenhawk neo-cons: that is why I would like to hear his own, untwisted, unedited words on the question of Iraq, and then make up my mind.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Interesting.

Does that mean you think Israel was wrong in 1981 ? Or that Saddam's nuclear plant was "nothing of great substance" ?
[ see http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=45764#45764 ]
or what ?

Note that "taking decisive action" is not identical to "attacking". Kennedy took decisive action against Khrushchev, over Cuba, without attacking Khrushchev.

P.S. Does Wiesel think (today, November, 2004) that Cheney & Bush honored his "moral imperative" re Iraq ? Another moral imperative comes to mind: "Do no harm", i.e. do not make a bad situation worse.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

<"The network in Afghanistan has not been "completely destroyed". It is still alive and growing. In fact, Wolfowitz and Rummy were worried that they would not be able to "win" in Afghanistan, and urged for an invasion of Iraq first... a country, as we all well know, that was hostile to Osama and vice versa.">

Ah, you're watching too much PBS. You say that they wanted to go to Iraq first, but what did they do first? They went to Afghanistan, so I don't know why you even brought that up.

<"The United States does not have a “spring-well” of Arabic speaking intelligence officers (our abilities in that area are limited)- by taking these people and placing them in another country (not to mention illegally diverting funds approved for Afghanistan to an undeclared war with Iraq), than the Bush administration did reroute attention. ">

No, Bush just expanded the attention to another terrorist-supporting country, as he said from the very beginning that he was going to do.

Please look up the definition to "regurgitate," which does not mean "repeat." Warning, I am now going to repeat my earlier statement:

The only attention that was diverted to Iraq was the TV news media. The American military and CIA have never stopped looking for Bin Laden.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

<"Bin Laden is out there because your fool of a president diverted his attention to Iraq. Neither Gore nor Kerry would have been stupid enough to start an unnecessary war with Iraq; they would have caught OBL long since.">

How does it feel to be in the minority? Repeat after me……

51% baby!

Apparently the majority of Americans do not agree with you.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

<"Read those reports and then get back to me- open your sleepy eyes and stop with the spewing of propaganda. ">

Apparently I do not need to. The American people have spoken against you for me. REPEAT (not regurgitate) after me......

51% baby!


How does it feel to be in the minority?


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

<"Read those reports and then get back to me- open your sleepy eyes and stop with the spewing of propaganda.>"

Reports? Oh how easy it is to find some governmental writing to support a certain hypothesis. Regarding the spewing of propaganda, what exactly is it you think you are doing?

"<Iraq was not a terrorist-supporting country and the people in the Bush administration were planning to attack Iraq well before 9/11>"

Stop spewing propaganda. Give me some hard evidence, rather than some hearsay of people Bush fired, and I might open my sleepy eyes to see and understand what you are saying.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

This report was a series of recommendations designed to end the process of Israel trading land for peace by transforming the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of an axis consisting of Israel, Turkey and Jordan. It was also written in 1996 when Clinton was in office.

Thank you for wasting my time. You are so biased and set in your ways that it is actually me who is wasting my time with you. Someone with your biases and conspiracy-type thinking would be a great employee for the Asian Times.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

I am just wondering if the posters on this board use the Asian Times as a source because its writers have a personal agenda that buttress the posters’ ideology?

Clearly this is not a source that is unbiased, as it is produced in Hong Kong and employs untrained, American-hating foreign writers. It writes articles based on conspiracy theories and very little proof. Basically no personal information is provided on its writers, and “hearsay” is a large component of the writing in this paper rag.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

Thank you for referring me to a huge piece of fiction. It is not like I want to read something of credible substance.

:(


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

The above post was supposed to be a reply to
Michael Barnes Thomin’s "Read the Cheney Report and "A Clean Break", and then come back and give us your opinion. Until then, all you are doing is regurgitating baseless charges that have proven to be utterly false."


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

<"Pepe Escobar has his opinions on matters, but Spengler also has his/her views- if you actually took more than three minutes....">

Actually, I went to the Asian Times website and read the diminutive background on every one of their staff writers. I will not read any more articles you talk about or explore any more links you post because your sources are never credible and always smack of conspiracy theory. You never cite a hard source that can be verified in print, you use sources that have a clear agenda and no academic merit, you use only internet sources, you post links to articles that have only vague references to what is being discussed, and some of your links do not even work.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

"<"Hitting the gutter (Cheney Report---Not!)"
What you posted was "A Clean Break", not the "Cheney Report". You might want to consider actually knowing the title to what you read before you reply to me. If not, then by all means, feel free to continue to look like a jackass.">

You might want to reread my subject line again before you start labeling people jackasses. Pay particular attention to the word "not" which is then followed by an exclamation point. I know very well what I posted about, as the content of my post was clear and to the point. Furthermore, another reader replied in kind about my post about your inapt suggestion that I read "A Clean Break." Apparently you were the only one who thought I was talking about your infamous and incredible Cheney report.

By the way, there is no such report. There are only vague references to it by suspect people calling themselves journalists. Nor can it be found on that stupid nonworking link you gave to the white house website.

I must have struck a never with you though, because you have resorted to name calling now. When you resort to name calling, it is the first sign that you have lost the argument.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

"a shame that otherwise respectable thinkers are falling so deeply into mindless partisanship that they do not any longer care about . . . My hope is that Kerry and the Democrats defeat that party for the presidency. "

Uh, I am glad you sure made your partisanship clear to the readers.


“I still have no idea how Bush can try to (benmefit) from a tape showing that bin Laden is alive.”

Bush can benefit by making the case that because Bin Laden is still out there, there is much work that needs to be done to fight terrorism. He can also claim that the reason Bin Laden is sending a tape is because he cannot send a bomb or hurt us in any other way on the American homeland. Bin Laden might also be sending the tape in order to hold on to the last remnants of support in his network that Bush has thoroughly smashed. The fact that Bin Laden has sent a tape in an apparent attempt to hurt Bush demonstrates how large an effect Bush has had on Bin Laden.

How fast the American public forgets that Bush said within weeks after 911 that he was going after Afghanistan and this fight against terrorism involved much more than just Bin Laden. Do not get caught up in the news media trying to hurt Bush because Bin Laden is still out there. The American law enforcement—under Bush—has gotten over 90% of the Al Qaeda leaders.


“His very existence still points out the signature failure of the Bush administration, though its failures in Iraq are beginning to match this ….”

This must be in reference to all the negative news attention post-war Iraq is now getting, because the initial Bush goals were met well above and beyond what was expected. That is, Saddam is removed from power and democracy is on its way to Iraq, the formerly starving people in Iraq are getting food now, and the women are no longer being oppressed.


“Kerry has been more ardent than Bush about bin (ladn), (constistently) and throughout the campaign.”

Is it because of Kerry that Bin Laden is living in a cave somewhere. Is it because of Kerry that Bin Laden cannot lead his decaying terrorist network because he has to spend so much time looking over his shoulder for Bush’s soldiers. Do you really think Bush does not have people looking for Bin Laden just because you do not see or hear about it on the nightly news?


“Andrew Sullivan absolutely eviscerated the Safire piece on his weblog.”

Oh yea, a blog is much more credible and valuable than a respected journalist published in a respected newspaper :(


“No one (wnats) to fight terrorism more ardently than I. I guess I am just burdened with thinking that we ought to fight it well.”

What do you know about fighting terrorism? Are you more than just some college instructor now?



“….then the obvious must be pointed out: Bush was president on 9-11. If he is going to use that event to score points, then it must be made clear -- the only case of islamofascism taking place on American shores happened nearly a fifth of the way into the Bush presidency.”

Had Kerry been president it might very well be that we would still be discussing what response to take against the terrorist countries that played a role in 9-11. We would still definitely be looking for Bin Laden.


Joey Johnson - 6/7/2005

<“Bin Laden is out there because your fool of a president diverted his attention to Iraq. Neither Gore nor Kerry would have been stupid enough to start an unnecessary war with Iraq; they would have caught OBL long since.”>

Oh right, we should have sent 50,000 troops to Afghanistan instead just to hunt one man when his network was already completely destroyed. That would have been wise foreign policy :(

The only attention that was diverted to Iraq was the TV news media. The American military and CIA have never stopped looking for Bin Laden.


<they would have caught OBL long since.>

Who are you kidding? You just put your own foot in your mouth. According to your philosophy they would not even have been in Afghanistan because they are not “stupid enough to start an unnecessary war,” so just how would they have captured Bin Laden?


N. Friedman - 11/7/2004

Michael,

The treatment of minorities under Shari'a is a central issue in the dispute with the Muslim world. As I have mentioned earlier, the role of dhimmi is one, largely, of oppression. The West is, no doubt, not perfect. However, the Muslim world oppressed by religious obligation.


mark safranski - 11/7/2004

Chris,

You're losing your ability to engage in objective analysis due to an excess of Transnational Progressive ideological zeal. Bush is Pol Pot now ? Give me a break, are you even serious about your posts these days ?


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/7/2004

Oh how terrible those Taliban were for oppressing anything that strayed from the so-called "word of God". It is a good thing that the new government is so tolerant...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=52GJLOAVDNCO1QFIQMFSM5WAVCBQ0JVC?xml=/news/2004/11/07/wafg07.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/11/07/ixworld.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=16284


Maarja Krusten - 11/7/2004

I do not reveal my voting record since the end of the Cold War so readers will have to guess whether or not I voted for Bush in 2000 or 2004. As a federal employee, I simply do not reveal my voting record. All I can say is that I am an Independent, no longer a Republican but not a Democrat, either. I can say that in the period between 1972 and 1988, the last Cold War election, that I voted for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. So, how did the campaign rhetoric on Iraq play out for me? Very poorly.

Basically, I became more uneasy, not more confident, about where the Bush administration was headed in Iraq and abroad, when I heard Dick Cheney say that Kerry would ask for permission before acting abroad. Anyone who listened to Kerry explain the so-called "global test" could see that that was not what he meant. There was no need for Bush and Cheney to resort to the exaggerations they did. When Bush fell back on implying that those who questioned the Iraq war were offering comfort to the enemy, I said, oh, oh, if he feels he has to frame the issue that way, we're in real trouble in Iraq. I found the exaggerations a distraction, as I kept trying to figure out why the administration was wasting time on spinning what the other side supposedly had said, rather than offering a clear vision for where it intended to go and what its goals were. Basically, instead of convincing me of firm resolve by the government, the need to fall back on exaggerations and oversimplification convinced me of the opposite.

Today's New York Times has an interesting article, "The Anti-war Right is Ready to Rumble," at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/weekinreview/07kirk.html. It does not mention Pat Buchanan, but those who follow U.S. politics know that he represents an isolationist strain on the right. Again, an article such as Dr. Klinghoffer's, which assumes that the Iraq war issues are black and white, is far less useful than an article which would candidly examine why Americans are fragmented in their views. One cannot be effective as an advocate if one insults the thinking of a significant proportion of the electorate. To me, that approach always signals weakness, not strength, in one's arguments, although I recognize that for some people, that style of argument works well, and has the opposite effect it has on me.


Maarja Krusten - 11/7/2004

I generally find the approach in the article above, as well as some of Wiesel's quotes, to be an oversimplification. Basically, to accept the article, you have to accept the premise that the war in Iraq is tied to the "war on terror." Some of those who oppose the war do not accept that and never have. So Wiesel's argument that changes in attitude have occurred in part because Americans were not prepared to hear casualty numbers does not apply to those people. Some Americans have opposed the war from the beginning. Others have serious concerns about the decision making that went into the war or about the lack of planning or about the lack of accountability. Americans are not monolithic and a monolithic approach, telling us "here's the path you must follow" has limited appeal, as a result. The article overlooks all that.

Also, Wiesel is quoted saying, "We had to intervene in South Africa, against apartheid, and in the Soviet Union in its persecution of Jews and minorities and other dissidents.... If mass violations of human rights exist in a country, we must interfere," he says." But the situation in Russia is regressing. And Bush largely has kept silent about Putin, his friend, "Vladimir," the man whose "soul" he claimed to see in his eyes. Also, the U.S. clearly cannot intervene in every country where there are human rights violations, we don't have the means. And our moral authority is not the same it was during the Reagan years. And, of course, the people of the former South Vietnam now live under Communism--but I don't hear anyone saying the U.S. should go back in and liberate them. "Freedom is on the march" selectively, however much I would like everyone in the world to live in peace, freedom and under democracy.


Maarja Krusten - 11/7/2004

Yep, I see your point. As soon as I read the words "the left" for Democrats or "the right" for Republicans, in an HNN article by an "historian" or in a or posted message, I write off the writer as an historian and simply view his/her article as one written by an ideologue or partisan advocate. That doesn't necessarily mean I ignore what they advocate, although sometimes the mere use of rhetoric leads me to do that, but he or she merely becomes some person viewing events through a political prism. There are conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, but you wouldn't know that from reading much of what is posted on HNN. There even are conservative Republicans who do not support the Iraq war. See "The Anti-war Right is Ready to Rumble," in today's NYT at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/weekinreview/07kirk.html


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

Once is a blue moon, eh? If I'm the historian you're referring you, didn't you once tell me I was posting too often, LOL? Just kidding, LOL. I have sooooo many thoughts, and I can't post them during the workday, except when I go to lunch, so I often post them in successive flurries, I recognize that and accept your comment, actually. Wander over to
http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=46104#46104
and you'll see the compliment I pay you in my riposte to Richard Henry Morgan on the "election night" thread!


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

please see also
http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=46155#46155


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

I love Jon Stewart, he is great, and I already saw his Crossfire appearance, it was a hoot. But also kind of sad when you stop and think that during the campaign, a comedian broke through the spin and canned talking points better than anyone else.


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

Thanks, I'll check the link. I've heard the argument that the armed forces would rather have people who want to be there, for unit cohesion and effectiveness, rather than face the problems that can come from having unwilling or unsuitable people in its ranks. However, there already seems to be a backdoor draft.

I worry about the long term implication during the campaign that asking questions about Iraq meant one was not supporting the troops. There may have been a short term gain for Bush but some long term damage. Too close a linkage of patriotism with support for one political party, and too close an identification of one's fighting forces with one political party, may harm rather than enhance national unity and cohesion. I know that the men serving in the armed forces are not all Republican, but some HNN posters have striven hard to make it appear so, in an effort to persuade others not to vote for Kerry, I suppose.

Here's how that might hurt the nation down the road. If there were a draft, can you imagine how an 18 year old would feel, being called to join forces whom he has heard described as "Republican and pro-Bush," if his own parents voted for Kerry and on election day, he had heard his Mom and Dad accused of voting for Satan? Remember, I read one woman say on the Washington Post forum that she had been accused of not being a Christian and told she had voted for Satan because she backed Kerry. Think of how it will affect unit cohension down the road, if the US implements a draft and starts putting Democrats who've been unfairly labled as unpatriotic, and liberals (who've been called traitors by the likes of Ann Coulter) in units along with "Bush Republicans." Dem or Republican, they're all just plain Americans, for gosh sakes, but the politicians have lost sight of that.

I've also seen posters on HNN refer to those who question Bush's policies as sissies, unpatriotic, etc. Some of the damage from this divisive campaign will take a long time to undo. The forum quotes above already show that a few people are saying, "oh, you Bush voters believe you're the only patriotic ones, fine, go sign up and take the bullets for all of us." I think it has been a big mistake to paint Democrats as unpatriotic for asking questions about Iraq. As a former Republican, now an Independent, that has worried me all along, as anyone who has been following my postings since September has seen.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/6/2004

Maarja,
I agree with you 100% about the shouting on shows on Fox. Unfortuantely, other networks have picked up on this. Though, somebody finally called them on it... and of all people it was a comedian:

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2652831?htv=12


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

Regarding Fox, I think it used to broadcast a show called War Stories. I haven't watched Fox for over a year now, as an Independent, albeit a former Republican, I just got tired of the shouting on shows such as Hannity & Colmes against Democrats. I noticed that some of the posters on the Washington Post forum refer to it as Faux News, faux being French for false, as you know.

Regarding Baca, I watched the video and also was struck by the narrative at the link you mentioned, especially the part stating, "As they prepared to engage the enemy, a fragmentation grenade was thrown into the midst of the patrol. Fully aware of the danger to his comrades, Specialist Fourth Class Baca unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his own safety, covered the grenade with his steel helmet and fell on it as the grenade exploded, thereby absorbing the lethal fragments and concussion with his body." Now that is valor.

BTW, I loved your TR quote above. I had actually Googled, looking for that quote earlier this fall, as I wanted to post it on HNN in response to one of the people who implied it was unpatriotic to question the way the Iraq war has been handled. I'm somewhat afraid that the Bush campaign's implication that it is unpatriotic to question the Iraq war may have backfired and harmed rather than increased cohesion. See my posting on a forum with readers' comments about chickenhawks, below.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/6/2004

The link I gave is incorrect. The link provided below is, however, the right one (make sure to copy the whole link):

http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Hacks%20Target.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=92&rnd=867.4565635343993


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/6/2004

Maarja,
One thing that I have noticed is that spokespeople for the Bush administration claim that a draft would weaken the military. They insinuate that those who are drafted are not good soldiers, which I think is a complete dishonor to those who were conscripted in the wars of yesteryear (including my grandfather). The nerve of these people sometimes makes me sick to my stomach. But do not take my word for it, here is what Col. David H. Hackworth (ret.) had to say about it: http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Hacks%


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

Thank you so much, Mike. I used my Smartphone earlier to post a quick reply to Peter but did not get to look at your link on Baca until I got home later this evening. That was very touching about Baca, brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate your letting me know, I hope other HNN readers look at it, as well.


Maarja Krusten - 11/6/2004

See below for some comments extracted from a Washington Post forum on whether or not there will be a draft. i selected a few comments that were posted right after Kerry gave his concession speech and President Bush called for unity. The undertones in these few forum comments suggests that for some, unity may be difficult. I recognize that the people who most on forums and message boards, as on HNN, are a self selecting sample, and may be skewed. Some of the comments clearly are meant to be sarcastic, but I have to wonder if there would have been more of a sense of "united we stand" on this forum, had the campaign run by Bush and by his surrogates focused less on who was patriotic, in matters relating to the Iraq war, and more on national unity and common purpose.

QUESTION
"From: Lindsay Howerton (WPFORUMS) [MODERATOR] Oct-27 6:54 am
To: ALL (1 of 358)
2478.1

Many military experts believe that reviving some sort of military draft is extremely unlikely, even impossible -- but not all of them. A small minority of defense specialists say that, given the strains placed on the U.S. military over the past three years, they can imagine scenarios in which a new conflict would require significant numbers of new troops -- and in which the draft would be reinstituted.

[EXTRACTED RESPONSES]

From: tatervt Nov-4 8:10 am
To: ladylawyer6 (331 of 358)

2478.331 in reply to 2478.330

>>My solution is relatively simple and might end this war sooner than expected. Only people who voted for Bush will be required to serve in the military and fight in Iraq or anywhere else on the neo-con agenda. << The vast majority of those currently in the military DID vote for Bush, so your 'solutionl is already a reality...

From: tatervt Nov-4 9:05 am
To: ladylawyer6 (333 of 358)

2478.333 in reply to 2478.332

>>Let's keep it that way, then. Although, I can tell you for a fact that I have a son in the military and, contrary to what you are stating, neither he nor many of his fellow soldiers voted for/ support Bush. By the way, when are you going to put your money where your mouth is, and go out and sign up? Wouldn't that be a sincere statement of support for your guy? << Well my thanks go out to your son, regardless of his political views. Second, we have been over this many times before (see other threads). Also, I have been supporting "my guy" in my current position. But thanks for choosing my path for me

From: AZHARO Nov-4 10:09 am
To: tatervt (334 of 358)

2478.334 in reply to 2478.333

Another chickenhawk!!

From: cbone11 Nov-4 2:21 pm
To: ladylawyer6 (337 of 358)

2478.337 in reply to 2478.330

I can think of nothing worse than having only Bush supporters in the military. You need to have dissenting opinions in the military, and you have them. It is good to have it because it acts as a check within the military, just like in any organization. Now, if that occurs is one thing (and another entire debate when discussing Iraq), but to completely remove it is dangerous to everyone. It is also wrong to think that supporting Bush means supporting the war in Iraq. This election went beyond just Iraq, it includes the rest of the war vs terrorist for example, and for some, more fundamental differences, be they right or wrong. What about those in Afghanistan, should those only be Bush supporters only, or is can anyone serve there?

From: ladylawyer6 Nov-4 4:50 pm
To: cbone11 (339 of 358)

2478.339 in reply to 2478.337

Oh, before I forget, I do support the military, very much so, since I have a son who is currently serving in same. I wonder if he will be able to get out in November of 2005 when he is scheduled to leave, or will he be forced, through the stop/loss directive, to continue service in Iran, Syria, No. Korea, or some other damn country? What are the odds? I say, send the Bush twins. They seem to be about the right age. Maybe a good dose of army discipline will do them some good.

From: LarisaFL Nov-5 3:12 pm
To: Lindsay Howerton (WPFORUMS) unread (346 of 358)

2478.346 in reply to 2478.1

There will be a draft, just watch. We can avoid one, however, but insisting that everyone who so zealously supports the war in Iraq, actually thinks it is going well, and adores Bush, should volunteer for their country. I know if I felt that strongly, so strongly in fact as to reelect a President like him, I would go and fight on principle. So, let us avoid the draft. The Bush people, go be patriotic and sign up for your country. You are patriotic, right?

From: tatervt Nov-5 3:18 pm
To: LarisaFL (347 of 358)

2478.347 in reply to 2478.346

>>There will be a draft, just watch. We can avoid one, however, but insisting that everyone who so zealously supports the war in Iraq, actually thinks it is going well, and adores Bush, should volunteer for their country. I know if I felt that strongly, so strongly in fact as to reelect a President like him, I would go and fight on principle. So, let us avoid the draft. The Bush people, go be patriotic and sign up for your country. You are patriotic, right? << If we agree to that, then you must agree to moving out of the country. We shouldn't fight to protect those who continue bellyache about it.

From: RAM4451 Nov-5 3:28 pm
To: cbone11 (348 of 358)

2478.348 in reply to 2478.337

I think there should only be Bush supporters in the military. That way there will be no problems and there will soon be no military as not even a Bush supporter has planned on being in Iraq, Afghanistan,Iran, Syria, Pakistan etc for years on end. He will lose his support and everybody can come home.Also draft only Bush supporters...if you still find any willing to say so after they see which way the smoke is blowing. No more Draft, no more war. Everybody wins.

From: LarisaFL Nov-5 5:24 pm
To: tatervt unread (350 of 358)

2478.350 in reply to 2478.347

Are you telling me because I don't want to fight your war, an unethical war against a country and its citizens who had nothing to do with 9/11... and even though, I lived a block away from ground zero, which perhaps makes me far more interested in fighting the actual people who attacked us... just because I won't fight your war that makes me less entitled to live here? If that is what you are saying, you are proclaiming civil war against the majority of your own citizens.Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~ Thomas Paine.

From: AZHARO 8:57 pm
To: tatervt unread (354 of 358)

2478.354 in reply to 2478.347

Maybe you can save us all a draft by heading out to the nearest recruiting center. Your hot air is tiring and your false bravado is shoiwing. So when are you heading to Iraq, chickenhawk? "
[END EXTRACTED COMMENTS]












Maarja Krusten - 11/5/2004

I also don't know a single Dem who doesn't wish the troops well or support 'em. I think that Post forum just was reflecting some earlier jibes about "chickenhawks"


Maarja Krusten - 11/5/2004

I also don't know a single Dem who doesn't wish the troops well or support 'em. I think that Post forum just was reflecting some earlier jibes about "chickenhawks"


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Yet PBS is "mainstream liberal media"- when is the last time Fox honored these men?


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Watch the video clip of Joe Baca at the bottom of the screen- I have never forgotten this one...

http://www.pbs.org/weta/americanvalor/stories/baca.html#


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

"I must have struck a never with you though, because you have resorted to name calling now. When you resort to name calling, it is the first sign that you have lost the argument."

Under this logic, we can then determine that you lose your arguments before anybody can respond.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Maarja,
It is quite all right about the name. Besides, I told you if you could come up with any other names for me you were more than welcome to (Thomas will do just fine). I agree with you on your thoughts about the divide in this country. I think historians will one day look back at this moment in time and teach their students to memorize it on exams as, "The Great Divide". For over the past two years I have been slandered with the word "Un-American". In fact, I have heard this so many times that it has lost all of it's meaning (if it ever had a meaning to begin with). I always remind myself of what Theodore Roosevelt once wrote:
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." “Lincoln and Free Speech,” The Great Adventure (vol. 19 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed.), chapter 7, p. 289 (1926).

Or I remind myself of that famous speech given by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775. His last words are immortalized and we as American children are taught in grade school, which we repeat throughout our lives, but the most important words of this speech are never spoken. He said, "Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it."

So long as my government can do this world and it’s people better, I will continue to strive and speak out. No words, no matter how cruel, no stones, no matter how large, can keep my voice silent. Give me liberty or give me death… damn right.


N. Friedman - 11/5/2004

Michael,

Your version of humanism sounds, as Nietzsche might say, "human, all too human."

I shall stand by my terminology and call Islamism a form of fascism.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Previous post was in regards to : "I shall leave it to you to place a name for an ideology which calls on its people to conquer land and, on the conquered land, set up a system of oppression and supression."


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Mr. Friedman,
The way you put it reminded me of simply human nature since history has been recorded. The ideology you described, to me, has different faces and different names, but in the end, as far as I can see back it, in essence, fits under several "concepts" throughout all of human existence. Therefore, I decided to give it the name "humanism", because, to me, it is such a broad human "concept". Sorry for the confusion.


Maarja Krusten - 11/5/2004

Sorry, that should have been Michael, not Thomas, duh, not paying attention.


Maarja Krusten - 11/5/2004

Thanks, Thomas, for the thoughtful note about the lack of common ground. Had I not been reading HNN and other forums recently, and not seen the slurs cast on those who questioned the Iraq war, I would not be as pessimistic as I now am. I am not a Democrat, rather an Independent, someone who mostly but not always has voted Republican since 1972. I see danger in the way President Bush framed the Iraq issue during the campaign and in the way his supporters, inclulding here on HNN, responded.

On other message boards, I saw many readers who were Democrats say after the election, to those who voted for Bush, why aren't you signing up to join the Armed Forces? Why aren't you encouraging your sons and daughters to join the military? Does that mean there may be fractures in the cohesive support "for the troops" expressed prior to the election? Before November 2, we often heard from Democrats and Republicans alike, "we all support the troops, the no matter what we feel about the policy." Does what I saw on the Washington Post's message boards mean those who did not vote for Bush now will say to the administration and Republican voters, "Fine, you've spoken. It's 'your' war, you 'own' it, we do not. The problems in Iraq, or in the Mideast, are 'yours' to solve, as a political party, not 'ours' as a nation, since you have rejected us as 'unpatriotic'."

That is the biggest danger in the "us" versus "them" themes of the election. But it may be an inevitable result of appeals such as the one in the article above. Of course, the vast majorities of the people living in NYC and in the DC area voted for Kerry, not for Bush, and the people in those cities still remain the biggest potential targets of terror attacks. It won't surprise you to hear that I've heard a number of people in DC--even a few Republicans who voted for Bush--express a sense of helplessness since the election. If there are future terrorist attacks in the Northeastern cities, I have to wonder if we will see people throughout the nation hanging out flags and "united we stand" signs as they did after 9/11.

Posted on personal time during lunch break


N. Friedman - 11/5/2004

Michael,

Did you mean to say: Fascism with a human face?


N. Friedman - 11/5/2004

Michael,

Did you mean to say: Fascism with a human face?


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Maarja,
My bias will always remain for those who are hypocrites; for those who reason away for criminals of the U.S. constitution and crimes against humanity, and for those who eagerly attempt to assassinate your character while denouncing you as a "traitor", I will always have bias against. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that there will never be common ground between me and those who employ that logic- it gives me no pleasure in coming to this, but it is the truth, so help us God.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/5/2004

Mr. Friedman,
I'd call that ideology "humanism".


Richard Henry Morgan - 11/5/2004

First there was the rewriting of history to lowball the crimes of communist regimes. Now the taunting of a Jew as fascist, in the kind of language that is the favorite defense of anti-Semites. And then the rhetorical question as to what is to be done with people like me? The thin mask of concern for human rights has slipped, Chris.


Maarja Krusten - 11/5/2004

Here are some extracts from one of the Washington Post's message boards, which are read by people throughout the country. It is not always possible to tell where the posters live, although some people mention states (Texas, Virginia, etc.)

[BEING EXTRACTS FROM WASHINGTON POST'S READERS FORUM]
From: flight93 Nov-3 11:00 pm
To: AZHARO (132 of 239)

2493.132 in reply to 2493.127

As a Republican and therefore a member of the new majority Party, I am willing to do my part in healing the divisions of the last election. First, I will give a free one-way Greyhound bus ticket to Saskatchewan to each and every liberal who promises not to come back. Alternatively, I am willing to contribute all the purple kool-aid you can drink.

From: Jonzii Nov-3 6:21 pm
To: law47 (113 of 241)

2493.113 in reply to 2493.97

Well, I am trusting that the born again evangelical Christians who voted Bush back into office are strongly encouraging their sons and daughters to enlist in Bush's all volunteer Armed Forces, so they can kill all the rest of those terrorists. And, if the majority of the soldiers voted for Bush, that tells me they also support the war, so war on. I googled a few sites about Fascism this morning, and I see that we have have indeed fully bought into that big F word. Unvelievable. I now expect to have Bush's little Brother as our president in 4 years. Here I am born again, Christian, not feeling very comfortable with the way this whole election played out, or the tone of the nation in regards to registering approval of Bush. I have also been accused twice in the past 24 hours by supposed friends, of not being a legitimate Christian, both insinuated that I am supporting Satan because I voted for Kerry and did not approve of Bush or his admin. So, I guess I'll be looking for a new place to worship. Can't call them a church, and certainly will not call them evengelical or Christian. I'm also giving up politics, this country has lost the capacity to exercise critical thinking skills.

From: Jonzii Nov-3 6:27 pm
To: JohnFBDC (114 of 241)

2493.114 in reply to 2493.86

Well, I was told this morning that because I voted for Kerry, my Christianity is suspect. It's all too much.

From: law47 Nov-3 2:52 pm
To: u2scoop1 unread (97 of 241)

2493.97 in reply to 2493.36

My husband is a Viet Nam vet too. He came out of there absolutely opposed to the war. He thinks this Iraq "situation" is worse than Viet Nam, especially in terms of waste of lives. All I can do is to pray even harder for our country, given the "leadership" for the next 4 years.

From: NotDem2 Nov-2 8:32 am
To: ladylawyer6 (319 of 337)

2478.319 in reply to 2478.316

If you want think of Bush's admission to Harvard Bus. School as "affirmative action" for those with lower test scores. I am sure that you are for giving low scoring students a break(:-)
Actually the GOP has the best ideas. Unfortunately it has the worst public relations of any group in history. Many conservatives are dull and boring without charisma, especially in our soundbite world. Nevertheless the idea of an "ownership society" in which one takes an interest, pays taxes and attempts to improve their lot in life is a basic tenet of a free society. Asking for accountability and for one to take responsibility for his/her actions is not too much to ask of a citizen.

IMHO, the US should break up in to several countries, perhaps a confederation of countries to facilitate interstate commerce and provide a unified military--the original premise of the US Constitution. WE no longer have a common purpose or beliefs. It is senseless to pretend that those of us in Virginia have much in common with the West Coast or Michigan, let alone New England. The US is unmanageable and needs to re-align itself.

From: consult13 Nov-1 5:14 pm
To: NotDem2 (313 of 337)

2478.313 in reply to 2478.307

"Kerry is a dispicable person for his actions before congress, etc. Nothing changes that."
I say a man of integrity. You say despicable. We disagree.

"When bimbos use abortion as a form of birth control, yes myself and others are better than these types of murderers. Take a stance, make a judgement about behavior!"

Not everyone who has an abortion is a "bimbo." Can you should me a statistic that says that most abortions are performed on women who are "loose" sexually? C'mon, give me the proof.

"Some behavior is not good, some is unethical, some is immoral according to western european judeo-christian values upon which the US was founded. There is nothing redeeming about a homosexual lifestyle that perverts the hetro model, even trys to influence children."

I find nothing moral about the hatred you spew. And I'm teaching my children to accept homosexuality. Heck, my child attended a gay "wedding" last year. However, I'm teaching him that people like you are cruel.

"AIDS victims who purposely spread the disease to other men or druggies who do the same, are murderers. Take a stance, make a judgement about behavior."

Take a stance against making up lies. Homosexuals, on the whole, do not spread AIDS purposefully. Again, I attended a gay wedding last year. These two men have been monogomous and are not spreading AIDS.

"Do you think that JKerrnedy cares about these people or their rights?"

I think he cares a whole lot more that Bush and you.

And, again, you've shown that you are incapable of using a person's real name. It's time to act like an adult! I asked you politely to not do this before. Since you cling to this name calling, I must assume that you are incapable of acting like an adult.

"No, only if it will buy him something politically. The only reason he has not taken the politically correct road on homosexuals is that his electoral base is against him on the issue."

Listen to what he says: he's against it, but he (as one man) can't make laws (much less modify the Constitution) to suit his own personal view of the world.

"Kerry is an elitist who has no relationships, nor can relate, to the average American. He and his Senate cronies are slowly killing the country."

So is Bush. C'mon. Get real.

I'm sorry to be so strong with my wording, but your statements are very offensive. I worry about my son, not because of homosexuals or abortions, but because of people like you.
[END READERS' FORUM EXTRACT]


Maarja Krusten - 11/5/2004

I am cross posting this on a couple of pages to lead readers to the comments I posted yesterday on Cliopatria and on the page with Professor McElvaine's article. For me, the rhetoric in some of the articles posted on HNN and in readers' comments has been sobering. I knew the country was divided but had not realized how readily people threw derogatory labels at each other and expressed hatred for those holding views different from theirs. Because I am a centrist, someone who used to be a Republican but who has identified myself as an Independent since the end of the Cold War, the extent of the hatred was a surprise to me. Neither political party currently matches neatly my various views on fiscal policy, foreign policy, and domestic and social issuest. Here in the Washington, DC area, I've been lucky as I have been able to have reasonable discussions with Republicans and Democrats about those issues---many people on both sides express concern and anxiety about various policies. HNN is another story. By October, the disdain for fellow citizens that I kept reading about on HNN led me to stop wearing the US flag pin I used to wear during the Vietnam War and had resumed wearing after 9/11, some of whose victims died close to me home. One of the flag pins I bought to wear after 9/11, but now have just stowed in my jewelry box as a momento, is shaped in the geographic form of the U.S.

See
http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=45999#45999
and
http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=46003#46003
for how some of the rhetoric from the heartland has affected people in NYC and DC


N. Friedman - 11/5/2004

Michael,

I shall leave it to you to place a name for an ideology which calls on its people to conquer land and, on the conquered land, set up a system of oppression and supression.


N. Friedman - 11/5/2004

Michael,

I gather you have found some Lewis material.

I note: the issue with the Islamists is - whatever you want to call them - that they wish to (a) spread their religion by Jihad, (b) employ Jihad against the dar al-Harb so that the region of dar al-Islam will increase, (c) employ Shari'a throughout dar al-Islam and (d) reinstitute the dhimmi system (which, for you or me, is the problem).

In the dhimmi system, you and me (i.e. the dhimmi) would be subject to a dhimma (i.e. a contract). That contract, revokable at the will of the Muslim authority, requires us to wear (as occurred in Taliban Afghanistan) special clothing, to stand to the left side of the road whenever a Muslim walks by; requires to ride in lesser vehicles (traditionally, we could not use horse or camels but, instead, donkeys); requires us to pay a Jirza (i.e tax as considerable for being tolerated); does not permit us to give testimony against any Muslim or in any trial involving a Muslim; does not permit us to build or repair any non-Muslim religious institution; does not allow us to pray, at home or in a church or shul, in a manner that might be heard by a Muslim; and, among other things, makes the murder of one of us a minor offense.

The last point has had the impact, during the many years the dhimma system existed (and, at present, where the dhimma system has been reinstated), of permitting untold numbers of massacres. And the basic system is clearly one of discrimination and oppression.

While many, including Lewis, have noted the tolerance of Islamdom, such tolerance has been based on the view that, unlike Christianity, Islam requires non-Muslims to be tolerated. Lewis, in particular, notes that Saladin allowed those he conquered to, for the most part, not be slaughtered. Which is to say, Islam has been a graceful conqueror.

However, the terms of tolerance are not really very tolerant. Which is why much recent scholarship, particular by dhimmi victems such as Bat Ye'or, has argued, rather successfully, that Islamdom's tolerance is, even compared to Christiandom, a myth. Which is to say, the day to day life of the dhimmi has been hell-like. And, in practice, Islamdom functioned by, in effect, enslaving large chunks of non-Muslims (i.e. more non-Muslims in Islamdom than Muslims when the empire was great) under the dhimmi system.

Perhaps the word fascist is erroneous. A better word for the above might be apartheid. Do you disagree? And, in the places where the system has been reinstituted - as it was in Afghanistan - life for non-Muslims was hellish by any standards.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

"What do you make of the thesis that Islam is another version of the anti-liberal, anti-modern dogmas of the twentieth century? Some pundits have been using the term "Islamo-fascism" to describe the ideology of bin Laden and his ilk. Do you think that the militant form of Islam stems more from recent utopian movements than from Islamic tradition?

No, I don't. There is an Islamic saying, "The first to reason by analogy was the devil." Certainly there is a Fascist element in the Islamic world, but it's not in the religious fundamentalists. It's rather in people like Saddam Hussein and his regime and the Syrian regime. These were directly based on the Fascist regimes. We can date it with precision: in 1940, the French government capitulated and a collaborationist regime was established in Vichy. The rulers of the French colonial empire had to decide whether they would stay with Vichy, or rally to De Gaulle. And they made various decisions. Syria and Lebanon were at that time under French mandate, and these French officials stayed with Vichy, so Syria and Lebanon became a center of Axis propaganda in the Middle East. That was when real Fascist ideas began to penetrate. There were many translations and adaptations of Nazi material into Arabic. The Ba'ath party, which dates from a little after that period, came in as a sort of Middle Eastern clone of the Nazi party and, a little later, the Communist party.

But that has nothing to do with Islam. The Islamists' approach is quite different from that and has its roots in the history of Islam. Though, of course, it is also influenced by outside ideas. I would not call it Fascist. I would say it is certainly authoritarian and shares the hostilities of the Fascists rather than their doctrines...."


N. Friedman - 11/4/2004

Michael,

Indeed you are right. However, Mr. Lewis knows more about the Middle East on his fingertips than does Mr. Richard Clark in his whole body. Which is not to say that Lewis is correct. However, he was the first, you will note, to raise the alarm about the Islamists and al Qa'eda.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

"And Lewis, in particular, was on the list of people warning, early on, that al Qa'eda intended to attack the US."

As was terrorist Czar Richard Clarke and, now deceased, F.B.I. Agent John O'neil... who were ignored.


N. Friedman - 11/4/2004

Michael,

Decided upon is, I think, a quite bit of a stretch. Talked about is another matter. Perhaps better said, September 11 gave the opportunity to do something talked about. Whether such a path would have been taken otherwise is only speculation.

My gut reaction is that such speculation does not get to the heart of the administration's thinking. Instead, since most of the President's opponents do not see the war as good policy, the speculation is driven by their opposition, not by careful analysis.

I reiterate: those who most pushed for invasion had, as early as anyone can read back, the view that the Middle East required restructuring or else it would continue its descent into violence and terror. Such was perceived to be bad for US because it had the potential to bring disruption to the supply of oil (which, no doubt, influenced the likes of Cheney) and, in the worst case scenario, attacks against the US (which most of them pooh-poohed at the time).

Whether or not the invasion of Iraq was the way to address the issue is a serious question - and I am a skeptic - but there is little doubt that the administration not only thought such to be the case but they sought outside experts, for example, Bernard Lewis, who thought so as well. And Lewis, in particular, was on the list of people warning, early on, that al Qa'eda intended to attack the US.

Which is to say, the policy was developed on the basis of careful analysis which, in hindsight, may prove to have been either foolish or farsighted (or something in between).


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqletter1998.htm



Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

Note: The Cheney report discusses America's importance and dependence of of energy sources. Also, again, PNAC's website will show you that the people now serving very high up in the Bush administration wanted to invade long before 9/11; which was my whole point and I really do not see how this can be argued with.

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?041011fa_fact


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

"You never cite a hard source that can be verified in print, you use sources that have a clear agenda and no academic merit, you use only internet sources"

I see, so it must be "in print" to be valid? How does something "in print" automatically make it valid? Ann Coulter's books are all "in print", so does this make them all valid? In that case, Michael Moore has books "in print" as well, so I guess they are all "verified". And just where exactly do you get your news from? How is it anymore valid in the Wall Street Journal than it is in the Washington Post? Do internet sources not count now? Since they are not "verified in print" I suppose that the articles on the Associated Press and Reuters website are not valid either. You are climbing up one "slippery slope".


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

http://www.newamericancentury.org/


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

Joey,
I think that others on this forum would beg to differ with your assumptions against me, but they need not matter. It seems we are both a waste of eachothers time.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

Joey,
Sometimes websites do not work due to the hyperlink underline. Nonetheless, try this: http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/Chapter8.pdf

The National Energy Policy is known as the "Cheney Report", for obvious reasons, just as the National Security Strategy is known as the "Bush Doctrine". Official names ususally differ from what they are publicaly known as. Another example is the "Powell Doctrine", which is also known as the "Weinberger Doctrine". Again, this report shows the interest in oil in the Mid East and "securing" the regions- PNAC's (Project for the New American Century) website is, again, the proof in the pudding; just read their material and see who the authors are.

In regards to my insults, perhaps I should have refrained from stepping down to your level, but I am only human. I grow tired of the tactics employed by people similar to the one's you have attempted to use against me. Ad hominem will get you nowhere with me; nonetheless, your point is taken and I hope you consider applying your own advice to yourself.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

By the way, I'm no hippie- I own guns. :)


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/07/22/wcheny22.xml&;sSheet=/news/2003/07/22/ixnewstop.html


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

Joey,
It is a news source with several writers who have various conflicting viewpoints. Pepe Escobar has his opinions on matters, but Spengler also has his/her views- if you actually took more than three minutes (which is understandable due to your lack of attention span) they are polar opposites. So, instead of criticizing an entire news source, perhaps you should actually read more than one article before you make up your simple mind. Then again, that might be asking too much of someone of your intellect. Nevertheless, I am not the least bit surprised to read yet another baseless charge with no substance coming from the tips of your young, deeply flawed fingers.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

"Hitting the gutter (Cheney Report---Not!)"

What you posted was "A Clean Break", not the "Cheney Report". You might want to consider actually knowing the title to what you read before you reply to me. If not, then by all means, feel free to continue to look like a jackass.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

To clarify: Spengler is actually an advocate of the Iraq War- he/she believes the problem, however, is Islamists, and not a "War on Terror". In short, you might find that the baseless arguments you present are strengthened by reading articles by Spengler- you might then actually be taken seriously.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

Perhaps you should read more articles of Spenglers before you post your mindless crap.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/4/2004

Joey,

What does "A Clean Break" recommend?:

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions."

And you are exactly correct that it was written in 1996, which is my whole point to begin with- the invasion for Iraq was decided upon long before 9/11. But I guess you (willfully) left that part out. I have never claimed, nor would I ever have claimed, it was the sole purpose for going to Iraq, but it surely was an agenda on Perle's mind. Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader, was Chairman of the Defense Policy board Advisory Committee (until he stepped down due to "conflict of interest") from 2001-2003 and was a joint founder of PNAC. Why did you not read the Cheney report or any of the numerous articles on PNAC's website that call for the invasion of Iraq well before 9/11? Once again, calling me names does not validate any of your words. You are dishonest and your current enrollment in high school pierces through with every bit of garbage that you throw on this forum. By the way, it's Asia Times, not Asian Times. Perhaps you should do your self a scholarly favor and rely on other sources of information other than just what comes off your "FAIR AND BALANCED" "news" programs. You might want to start out with just two or three news outlets, and then work your way up- who knows, you might actually learn something about the world for once, oppose to "regurgitating" the shit you are feed back on to your plastic plate, only to eat it up again with a large, mindless grin smeared across your ignorant face.



Mr. Friedman,

I do think that Perle was pushing for the invasion of Iraq with what he himself wrote on his mind- his alligence to America is another issue entirely, which I could not determine based upon current information. Of course, there were other reasons and everybody had something to gain, but I do not see how this can possibly be overlooked. My whole point was that the invasion for Iraq was decided by the people within the Bush Administration long before 9/11- this report from 1996 adds weight, though the proof is in the PNAC pudding.


N. Friedman - 11/4/2004

Joey,

You are entirely correct about A Clean Break. Which is to say, the document has nothing to do with US policy.

Michael,

In this case, you might consider that Joey is correct. You cannot discern from a document addressed to an Israeli political party about something Israel, by the document's authors' view, ought to do, something about US policy. Such is a distortion of reality which speaks - and I leave you out of this as I take you to be a serious person - more about those making the distortion than about US policy.

In this case, most of those who make the assertion about that document are, in reality, arguing that Jews have dual loyalty and thus cannot be trusted. Or, to put the matter differently, they are asserting that the same people do not wear one hat while advising the US and a different hat when advising Israel.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2004

Jonathan,

Very well put. Also, the article is quite a good one.


Jonathan Dresner - 11/3/2004

Mr. Pettit,

First, Klinghoffer is, as far as I know, Israeli. So that doesn't really help, as far as you're concerned, but it's nice to be accurate when casting broad aspersions.

Second, without casting aspersions on your own anti-Zionist positions, I would ask you to consider this argument regarding the hypocritical arguments (reprinted here) which are often employed in anti-Zionist positions. Specifically, towards the end of the article, he calls for consistency with regard to claims of nationhood and national aspirations.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2004

Chris,

Typo:

Substitute the word "vast" for the word "mast" so that my first sentence will read:

Statistically speaking, the vast majority of anti-Zionists are Antisemitic.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2004

Michael,

No doubt, in my mind, that Bush would not have won election but for 9/11. That world, unfortunately, does not exist.

I am, however, not sure that fear was the entire issue. Part of the issue is that Kerry had no discernable plan for dealing with the issues. Which is why he kept saying "I have a plan" while, at the same time, saying he would, in principle, do the same thing as Bush.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/3/2004

I would not necessarily classify Bush as a "popular leader". He won the majority of the vote, barely, but if it was not for September 11th I seriously doubt Bush would have gotten a second term. Fear is a powerful instrument.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2004

Michael,

Thank you for your kind words.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/3/2004

This is the last time I respond to your mindless games, until you give me something of substance (read Mr. Friedman's posts- this should point you in the right direction)

"Stop spewing propaganda. Give me some hard evidence, rather than some hearsay of people Bush fired, and I might open my sleepy eyes to see and understand what you are saying.

Read the Cheney Report or "A Clean Break"; until you accomplish this your opinion is of no use to this forum. Also, go to PNAC's website and read Rebuilding America's Defenses, as well as their various other papers and letters that were calling for an invasion of Iraq since 1993. The evidence is overwelming. Perhaps you should actually read my posts and then reply, instead of giving me knee-jerk nonsense.


"How does it feel to be in the minority? Repeat after me……

51% baby!

Apparently the majority of Americans do not agree with you"

It does not really surprise me, and if Kerry were elected it would not make such a big difference anyway. So congrtualations, you are of the majority of extremely well informed Americans... you should be proud. Unfortuantely, this comment has nothing to do with what is being discussed. Also, you should go to your highschool principle and demand a better education. Try reading a book, for example, it might help you understand how to stay on topic. If you can challenge this with something of substance than by all means feel free and I would be obliged to respond- otherwise you are a waste of space, time, and oxygen.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2004

Chris,

Statistically speaking, the mast majority of anti-Zionists are Antisemitic. In other words, you have something to prove - at least as far as I am concerned. I can bet you that many others on this website would agree with my assessment.

I ask you to explain the grounds of your Anti-Zionism so that I may judge where you stand. One can almost always make such a distinction by the arguments presented.

For what it is worth, my gut reaction - which may be wrong -, based on the arguments you have presented on other topics, is that you are an Antisemite - perhaps at the unconsciouslevel -.


chris l pettit - 11/3/2004

Anti-Semite? No...

Anti-Zionist...hell yes

Anti-ignorance...absolutely

Anti idiocy of Americans that just re-elected a war criminal? hell yes

Germany under Hitler had its day...Soviet Union under Stalin had its...Cambodia under Pol Pot had its...Israel under the extremists is having its...South Africa under Apartheid had its...now we add (if we could not already) the US and its atrocious regime (whether Republican or Democrat...no difference).

THose who supported Bush are truly ignorant and ugly Americans. They cannot truly say that they have human values in any way shape or form. THis is not to say Kerry would have been any better. The system needs to be blown up and we need to start over. The US is a disgrace and the only glimmer that I can find in this election is that we are about to usher in the downfall of current US ignorance and dominance. I just hope I can do my best to help it happen peacefully and with human rights in mind.

Klinghoffer is a disgrace to her culture, her gender, and humankind in general. She has no regard for peace and human rights, and is a great example of one of the many wastes of the air we breathe that inhabit the vacuum that is the US.

Am I comfortable with shrapnel? Let me put it this way...you wonder how individuals become self righteous and feel above everyone? This is how it happens. When there can be people who support the way the US is functioning, and be comfortable with supporting a system that needs to be done away with...when people can support the violation of human rights and slauthereing of innocents...when people can support the oppression of the world due to idiotic concepts such as religion and nationalism...that is how it happens. Shrapnel from these people who do not deserve to be referred to as human beings as they act like animals...no, below animals since animals do not kill for no reason other than to increase their individual power...animals can actually live within the confines of nature and interconnectedness without destroying it all...these people are disgraces.

I remind you that Hitler had a lot of popular support...as did Stalin...as did the Apartheid government. They had support in the judiciary...and even in the international community. yet history judges them to be some of the worst offenders of humankind ever. The US regime should...and will...join the list...if it has not already. My question is what happens to all those complicit in the evil that is perpetrated. What happens to the Friedman's, the Morgan's, the Heuisler's, the Klinghoffer's...are they allowed to get away scot free despite their complicity in the deaths of hundreds of thousands? They are a key component in the denial of peace and human rights...and a disgrace to all of us who can be considered human beings and members of the species in the truest sense of the word.

Shame on you all and I hope to prosecute your leader in an impartial and competent court in the near future.

CP
www.wicper.org


N. Friedman - 11/2/2004

Michael,

The democracy thing is Wolfowitz's thing. It may or may not be something to the President or anyone else in the White House. However, there is not much doubt about Wolfowitz's preferences.

My gut reaction is that the major factor to the Bushies regarding Iraq was terrorism. Which is to say, they are, in fact, interested in altering the governance of the region. That, however, does not mean they care whether the end result is democratic. It does, however, mean they seek better governance.

I do not much know what to make of the oil argument. It may have something to do with things.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

"Ah, you're watching too much PBS. You say that they wanted to go to Iraq first, but what did they do first? They went to Afghanistan, so I don't know why you even brought that up."

If you still believe that the Bush Administration went into Iraq because of "terrorism" than there is no logic left in your brain. My point was is that Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld wanted to attack Iraq first- yes, they did send troops to Afghanistan, but those who advocated for war with Iraq did not (perhaps they have at least some knowledge of history- three empires failed in that country thus far).


"No, Bush just expanded the attention to another terrorist-supporting country, as he said from the very beginning that he was going to do.

Please look up the definition to "regurgitate," which does not mean "repeat." Warning, I am now going to repeat my earlier statement:

The only attention that was diverted to Iraq was the TV news media. The American military and CIA have never stopped looking for Bin Laden."


Yet another "regurgitation". Again, Iraq was not a terrorist-supporting country and the people in the Bush administration were planning to attack Iraq well before 9/11 (in fact, Zarqawi when he was in Iraq, was in Northern Iraq which is controlled by the Kurds, not Saddam- besides, Zarqawi himself called Saddam "the Devil" on his own website). The Islamists do not like Saddam, and the feeling has ALWAYS been mutual. If you offer me something with substance than I will answer accordingly, otherwise I will not respond to mindless garble. Read those reports and then get back to me- open your sleepy eyes and stop with the spewing of propaganda.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030512fa_fact


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FJ07Aa01.html


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

Mr. Friedman,

My point was that Perle was an advocate of this war, which he outlined his reasons in "A Clean Break". Ask yourself what he called for- it was not so much about Iraq, but more a concern with Syria; Iraq was merely the first step to engaging Syria. Furthermore, we are not talking about some low level official. Perle was the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 2001-2003 in the Bush Administration (he has been involved in the U.S. government for quite a long time, but what we are discussing is his influence in the current administration in regards to the war with Iraq). Also, I wrote, and have continuously wrote and advocated, that "there were many reasons for this war", but putting in a democracy is laughable and insults the intelligence of people. Perle stepped down from his position because of his “conflict of interest” exposed by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030317fa_fact). Recall that because of this article, Perle called Hersh “the closet thing journalism has to a terrorist” (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0303/09/le.00.html).


In regards to the Cheney report, to sum it up, it basically states the immediate importance of “securing” oil in the Mid East. It goes into great length discussing the details of its importance to the United States, and advocates intervention. Most of what I have read regarding the Cheney report centers around the Iraq war being about CONTROL of oil in the region. If you read the report (http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/) this “conspiracy theory” is not far fetched. Again, this war was about many things and many parties had alterative motives for pushing it into motion. You can chose to ignore the elephant standing in your living room if you wish, but I do not. The government is asking us the same question Groucho Marx presented, “Who are you going to belive, me, or your own two eyes?” I chose my eyes.


N. Friedman - 11/2/2004

Michael,

Bush has many advisors. On your theory, Pearl is a more important advisor than Rumsfeld and Rice and Wolfowitz. You have no explanation, at least thus far, regarding why a memo directed to the Israelis that was not authored by a cabinet secretary, but by second and third level advisors (and less), is considered to be the main event for the Bushies while the advice from members of the cabinet counted for nothing. I think that is a "nutso" theory.

To note: Wolfowitz was not an author of "A Clean Break" and holds views diametrically different from the authors. He, you will note, is allegedly one of the main advocates, among people with actual influence (albeit as a second level advisor) of the war. However, people who know him (e.g. Christopher Hitchens) note that he is more or less Wilsonian in viewpoint. You might want to read this: "In enemy territory? An interview with Christopher Hitchens - Islamofascism and the Left," by Johann Hari, at http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=450

Regarding the Cheney Report, I guess I should ask you to explain what you make of the noted report. So far, I have seen theories about the report from conspiracy nuts. I am not a big believer in conspiracies so I await something worth reading.


N. Friedman - 11/2/2004

Michael,

He is the main dove in the Bush advisor group regarding what Israel ought to do.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

Besides, you are already aware of my stance on the issue so your question to me has already been answered. I reiterate, there were many reasons for this war but we should not overlook the one's that we feel uneasy with. What the government of Israel desired is irrelevant to the issue with what Perle advocated- Wolfowitz is no dove.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

"What on earth does "A Clean Break" have to do with things?"

In short, everything. Question, did Richard Perle have sway with the Bush Administration?

The rest of your post centers around the question you asked, so it does not need to be addressed.

And why is there a lack of mention in your reply about the Cheney Report?


N. Friedman - 11/2/2004

Michael,

What on earth does "A Clean Break" have to do with things? That document - which was received in Israel as a joke - advised the Israelis to break off their relationship with the US so that Israel might somehow more easily deal with its opponents in the Arab world. The Israelis, including Netanyahu (to whom the document was directed) ignored the document because the advice was stupid, at least from Israel's perspective.

Spinmeisters, usually Antisemitic ones, have more recently spun that document into an alleged blue print for American action. Which is to say, the document is taken out of context and misread to advance a political cause.

The assumption of those who read the document have is that the US was somehow manipulated to attack Iraq in order to improve Israel's position. How that is supposed to be the case, of course, is never revealed and it is not a very logical, much less, factual opinion. And, in that Israel, for anyone who bothers at all to read its newspapers will tell you, spent the time in question lobbying primarily for the US to deal with Iran's nuclear program which, as the Israelis accurately forecast, was a much greater concern to Israel, not to mention the rest of the world, than Iraq. In other words, the document has much less to do with things than its proponents suggest.

Which is not to suggest that Israel was unhappy to see Saddam disappear. Clearly Israel was since Iraq was funding a major part of the terror war against Israel. However - and this has not been much reported - the Israeli press reported all along that, according to Israeli intelligence, the case for WMD's in Saddam's Iraq was speculative and uncertain.

One might argue that the document represents the thinking of some of Bush's advisors, most notably one or two his second and third tier advisors. However, Bush' main advisors, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld were not party to the document. Neither was Wolfowitz - who, for what it is worth, is known to hold dovish views on the Arab Israeli dispute and, accordingly, is unlikely to have agreed with much of what appears in the document -. Which is to say, the mindset of the authors of that document may represent the thinking of some people the president has employed at some level of the government, such mindset is not the view of his close advisors.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FK02Aa04.html


Michael Barnes Thomin - 11/2/2004

"Oh right, we should have sent 50,000 troops to Afghanistan instead just to hunt one man when his network was already completely destroyed. That would have been wise foreign policy :("

The network in Afghanistan has not been "completely destroyed". It is still alive and growing. In fact, Wolfowitz and Rummy were worried that they would not be able to "win" in Afghanistan, and urged for an invasion of Iraq first... a country, as we all well know, that was hostile to Osama and vice versa.


"The only attention that was diverted to Iraq was the TV news media. The American military and CIA have never stopped looking for Bin Laden."

Read the Cheney Report and "A Clean Break", and then come back and give us your opinion. Until then, all you are doing is regurgitating baseless charges that have proven to be utterly false. The United States does not have a “spring-well” of Arabic speaking intelligence officers (our abilities in that area are limited)- by taking these people and placing them in another country (not to mention illegally diverting funds approved for Afghanistan to an undeclared war with Iraq), than the Bush administration did reroute attention.


N. Friedman - 11/2/2004

Chris,

Have you joined the brigade of Antisemites?


N. Friedman - 11/2/2004

Peter,

I was referring to the current Iraq war, not to the 1991 Gulf war.

The issue to the Bushies in the current Iraq war was - as ought now be rather plainly obvious - not the weapons since the US could readily deter such weapons. The issue was always, for the Bushies, terrorism. Their view, repeated by Bush's advisors for many years - even prior to the time of his presidency - was that terrorism could not adequately be addressed without addressing the manner of how Middle Eastern countries are governed. They chose Iraq because they thought it was the least religious of the Muslim countries, because it was strategically located so that what happened there would affect the entire region and because they wanted to take on a country which, on the surface, seemed to have a real military so that it would be clear to the Arab world that US military power is supreme.

There is a reasonable probability that some - but not all - of the above Bush reasoning is plainly wrong. Unfortunately, the above theory required all of its elements to be correct.

In answer to your question: Israel may have been correct, from its perspective, to attack Osirik. The US did not think so at the time (although the view changed here within a year or so) and most European states still claim, at least publicly, that Israel was wrong (but that is rather typical in that the Europeans are, for the most part, allied with the Arabs). My view is that Saddam appears to have thought of himself as the modern Saladin and was trying to obtain nuclear weaspons; which means that Israel certainly had good reason to deal with Saddam.

My view of what Wiesel may have had in mind is rather irrelevant. Why don't you read what Wiesel actually thought? It is not all that complicated. And I do not know what Wiesel thinks as of November 2, 2004. You might ask him yourself if he is in his classroom on or near Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.


Jonathan Dresner - 11/2/2004

Chris,

That's a pretty low shot to take on a Jewish Israeli blog. I don't like Klinghoffer's views, but if you're going to lob grenades you better be prepared for shrapnel.


chris l pettit - 11/2/2004

She should practice if she does not...

CP
www.wicper.org


N. Friedman - 11/1/2004

Peter,

I read Wiesel's column, which was published in The Guardian, long ago. He thought that attacking Saddam was a moral imperative. His argument still appears all over the Internet.

I note: I have never favored attacking Saddam. Not ever.


N. Friedman - 11/1/2004

Peter,

Why is it that you believe that your position is the only position that an honest and intelligent person, aware of the facts, might hold? I note that Wiesel did, in fact, hold the view that the war was a moral imperative. One is free to disagree with him. I do. However, to hold, as you do, that such a position could not be held by an honest or mentally competent person astounds me.


Val Jobson - 11/1/2004

Bin Laden is out there because your fool of a president diverted his attention to Iraq. Neither Gore nor Kerry would have been stupid enough to start an unnecessary war with Iraq; they would have caught OBL long since.


Derek Charles Catsam - 11/1/2004

Your partsanship has officially outstripped your love for America. You are using bin Laden as a way to score partisan political points and in so doing are continuing the big lie about what Kerry actually said with regard to the "terrorist nuisance". Andrew Sullivan absolutely eviscerated the Safire piece on his weblog. Kerry has been more ardent than Bush about bin ladn, constistently and throughout the campaign. the idea that the GOP is taking Osama's nonsense seriously to score campaign points does show me that one party is more dangerous than the other. My hope is that Kerry and the Democrats defeat that party for the presidency. The GOP has shown that it will go to any lengths. equating Kerry with bin Laden is so irredeemable, it is beyond the pale. I'd be sad if I were not frightened. I still have no idea how Bush can try to benmefit from a tape showing that bin Laden is alive. His very existence still points out the signature failure of the Bush administration, though its failures in Iraq are beginning to match this, and if it is fair to equate a vote for Kerry with support for bin Laden, then the obvious must be pointed out: Bush was president on 9-11. If he is going to use that event to score points, then it must be made clear -- the only case of islamofascism taking place on American shores happened nearly a fifth of the way into the Bush presidency. No one wnats to fight terrorism more ardently than I. I guess I am just burdened with thinking that we ought to fight it well. It's a shame that otherwise respectable thinkers are falling so deeply into mindless partisanship that they do not any longer care about fighting it well as long as their party gets to keep hold of the mechanisms of power.